Casting has been announced for the upcoming UK and Ireland tour of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s musical Calendar Girls the Musical (previously just The Girls in the West End). It opens on 16 August 2018 at the Leeds Grand Theatre.
The new tour will star novelist and television presenter Fern Britton, returning to the stage for the first time in 30 years, as Marie, with Lorraine Bruce (Vernon God Little) as Cora and Anna-Jane Casey (Stepping Out, Annie Get Your Gun) as Annie.
Also playing The Girls are: Sara Crowe (Bedroom Farce, The Real Inspector Hound & Black Comedy) as Ruth, Ruth Madoc (Hi-De-Hi, Gypsy) as Jessie, Rebecca Storm (discovered by Willy Russell and cast as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers) as Chris and Denise Welch (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Coronation Street) as Celia.
Talking about the news, Tim Firth said: “To be given a chance to revisit Calendar Girls the Musical is a unique opportunity. Gary [Barlow] and I have been working away and, as the great Stephen Sondheim said, ‘musical comedies aren’t written,they are rewritten.’ ”
Calendar Girls the Musical is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5 million for Bloodwise. This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.
Produced once again by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, the show will be directed by Matt Ryan and designed by Robert Jones, with comedy staging by Jos Houben, movement by Lucy Hind and casting by Sarah Bird. Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will continue to receive monies from this production.